Cybersecurity is in the news again with the Queen opening the National Cyber Security Centre today. Glow Technical and Operations Director Thom Shannon explains what Botnets are and how they are used by hackers.

 Transcript: Cybersecurity: What are botnets?

um okay what is a botnet also called a zombie net
0:07
essentially it's a number of computers being controlled by someone else
0:12
usually nefariously. Quite often people think of viruses as something that gets onto your computer and causes problems
0:19
with you computer, deleting files and moving things around. Well the reality is when your computer is infected with this zombie virus
0:28
is that the person involved doesn't want you to know that it is already on your computer they
0:31
they want to be able to use your computer quietly without you knowing.
0:37
It gets installed onto your machine how a virus would normally something attached to an email
0:43
Occasionally it can be a problem with your browser security
0:47
that the hackers can use against that software which it then can be installed
0:55
Once its infected onto your computer the computer checks with what is called a command and control
1:01
server which is another server somewhere else that a nefarious person, whether it's a state operator or criminal gang
1:11
Can send instructions to your computer to do things for them without you knowing.
1:16
It can be used for sending spam, sending lots of spam is quite common.
1:23
But another thing they often use is a denial of service attack where they use a huge bank of these computers
1:30
to all send information to some poor victims website
1:36
basically knocks the persons website offline
1:39
the criminal gangs often use this to then extort money off people.
1:43
But it can be used to take down a critical infrastructure of a country.
1:48
there are some legitimate uses for that kind of technology, for botnets a really good example is S.E.T.I
1:56
search for extraterrestrial intelligence they launched a screen saver you can download
2:01
and whenever you aren't using your computer the screen saver kicks in
2:05
and it will actually go get information settings and processing
2:08
and it will use your computing power to process it for them
2:11
and it will actually go get information settings and processing
2:08
and it will use your computing power to process it for them
2:11
so anyone who can run that script can contribute towards the search for extraterrestrial intelligence
2:16
but for the most part its some dodgy that are doing this kind of thing.
2:22
To protect yourself against it like any other type of virus make sure your virus scans are up to date
2:28
regularly and don't open any dodgy email attachments and be careful what sites you go on.


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